The Evidence for Demons
This post isn't actually arguing for the existence of demons; it is actually about the misuse of neuroscience. I was reading Oliver Sachs new book, and he said something (the book is not with me now) along the lines of, "Some people took these feelings of presence as evidence of demons or ghosts, but now we know they are caused by such-and-such neural phenomena."
How in the world does that dispose of the possibility of demons or ghosts existing? (Again, please, this is not an argument for their existence: I am addressing neuroscientists trying to do philosophy, not the spirit world!) Don't, say, trees create particular neural patterns when we look at them? Does that prove that trees aren't real as well? Why can't someone who believes in ghosts say, "See, now we have physical evidence for ghosts: they are able to create those neural patterns you see!"
Look, when it comes to brain functioning, neuro-scientists are beast. (Yeah, I meant to write "beast": it's the way my 12-year-old describes someone who "rules.") When they start doing metaphysics, they are in no better position than plumbers or bridge engineers: a neuro-scientist might coincidentally be a good metaphysician, but if so, it is not because he knows a lot about the brain!